Public Relations

Taking a Page from Security Story Hijacking

By Brittany Bevacqua | On July 24, 2015

This week, Affect VP Katie Creaser and I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by our friends at LIFARS, a NYC-based cybersecurity and digital forensics firm. The event focused on cyber espionage and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), with speakers from well-known security software and hardware companies discussing the threat landscape and strategies to keep companies safe.

The security space is white-hot in the news, due in large part to the steady surge of data breaches, confirmed (and unconfirmed) state-sponsored attacks and general curiosity about the future of hacking (see this week’s Jeep hacking experiment from Wired). This wave of interest in turn has created ample opportunities for B2B security companies to participate in relevant and timely discussions taking place in the news and to position themselves as experts in the field. And that’s exactly what the companies at the event, our clients and so many others are doing successfully right now.

For organizations in other industries, what’s happening in the security space serves as a strong “case study” on what works when it comes to breaking through in the press. Here’s a few takeaways to consider:

1) Time is of the essence: News of a high-profile data breach can spread like wildfire. This means that countless media outlets will be competing to not only report on the news first, but to also earn reader clicks in the process. Because of this, it is essential for companies to be able to respond quickly to breaking news and provide journalists with compelling assets that will help enrich stories as the situation unfolds.

2) Promote uniqueness: There is no secret sauce when it comes to security, and because of this, the market is filled with companies of all shapes and sizes that are trying to help solve a very critical problem. When faced with a crowded market, it is particularly important to promote your key differentiators with the media. This includes everything from product/service capabilities to proprietary data insights or reports—anything that helps demonstrate why you have a unique view/perspective that no one else can offer.

3) Persistence pays off: Some stories, like the Sony hack, evolve so quickly that even your most brilliant perspective and insights can become irrelevant in mere minutes. Effective story hijacking takes patience and persistence, and in this case, relationship building is critical. Set yourself up for success by getting to know the journalists covering your market and their needs. Introduce your company, key spokespeople and their areas of expertise. Lastly, maintain regular communication with journalists to keep your organization top-of mind—you never know when you will be called upon to weigh in on the next big breaking story.

What are your thoughts on the above? How has your organization been successful in breaking through? I’d love to hear your take in the comments!

Brittany Bevacqua

Brittany is a Vice President at Affect, where she brings more than seven years of deep B2B and B2C technology PR experience. In her role, Brittany is responsible for setting program strategy and overseeing execution to ensure that clients achieve their unique business goals. She is particularly passionate about leveraging breaking news headlines and industry trends to raise her clients’ profiles among their target audiences. Prior to joining Affect, Brittany was a senior account representative at Boston-based Lois Paul & Partners (LP&P), where she led public relations programs for a wide-variety of technology clients.